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Charcoal Toothpaste?

One of my patients wanted more information about charcoal toothpaste. I assume it’s abrasive correct? Also, I’ve looked online and found there are no long term studies of it’s use. Do you have any other information about this new trend?



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Like you, I haven’t come across any scholarly articles or even professionally written articles about brushing with charcoal toothpaste. There’s certainly a lot of “junk articles” about it though! Whether brushing with charcoal toothpaste is safe comes down to long-term research proving its efficacy and safety (like you mentioned). For now it seems to be best for our patients to stick to traditional whitening that’s safety has been proven.
 
For now, if a patient wants to use charcoal toothpaste, it would be best to see where the paste falls on the RDA scale, or how abrasive it is. Curaprox, a toothpaste with “activated carbon” is actually quite low on the RDA scale (score of 30). Each paste will be different though. But again, long-term effects aren’t known.
 
On the other hand, breaking open charcoal pills and brushing with the contents is probably not a good idea because of the possible abrasiveness which can cause erosion issues, leading to sensitivity and even decay. Plus scaling out charcoal subgingivally isn’t fun. There’s also a risk of lung issues if the charcoal powder is inhaled, if too much is swallowed it can interfere with nutrient and medication absorption (especially birth control), it can cause GI issues that can be quite serious, GI issues can lead to metabolic issues (electrolyte imbalance and magnesium imbalance, and I’ve even read about chronic charcoal ingestion being linked to cancer (I can’t substantiate that though).
 
So for now, there’s just not research that backs up the efficacy or safety of brushing with charcoal. I hope this helps a bit!

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